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NICARAGUA

The ship did a lot of rocking as we made our way past the breakers to the dock in Corinto. This is a working dock with no tourist facilities at all. You can walk out of the port to a street filled with vendors though. This port was a rarity because it has not been taken over by big vendors. All you have are locals with their wares. You could see the real country here. We boarded our bus for the 1 ½ hr ride to Colonial Leon. Our guide was Elvis and yes he was named after Elvis Presley. He was born 2 months before he died and he said somehow his mother, who was a huge Elvis fan, was able to talk his dad into letting him be named Elvis! He has been a teacher and archeologist and had a wealth of information to share with us. There are 27 volcanoes on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua with 7 of them being active. One had a ‘hiccup’ a couple weeks ago and is still sending out smoke. The bus had no bathroom so we stopped at an On the Run gas station to get water and snacks and a potty break. Of course they give change in their money which is a cordova. 23 cordova’s equals $1 USD. Upon arriving in Leon, the bus parked and we got out at the main square. There were vendors set up selling food and souvenirs all around the area. We saw many school children and asked about it and were told they go to school in shifts. They don’t have enough schools for all the children so some go from 7:30 am to 12:00 and the others from 12:30 to 5pm. They do wear uniforms also. The main point of interest here was the La Asuncion Cathedral, which is the oldest church in Central America and took 100 years to build. After viewing the main part of the church we climbed narrow stairs through very narrow ‘tunnels’ to get to the bell tower and then on the roof. The views were breathtaking from up there. Once we exited the cathedral, we made our way back to the bus, but not after buying some of the local crafts. Our next stop was the Bubbling Mud Pots. This is an area that the pressure from the volcanoes creates. The earth gets soft after a rain and gives way to the heat below and makes the mud boil! The smell of sulfur was very prominent. If you stood too long in one spot you could feel it getting hotter in seconds. People actually live in this area and they have several things they tried to sell you. Even small children were walking around trying to push things at you to buy. Some of the kids latched on to some older people in our group and ‘assisted’ them throughout the walk through the mud pots. After 20 minutes we headed back to the bus and the ride back to the ship. Elvis did a wonderful job answering all our questions and even surprised us with a song before we entered the port!! And no it was not an Elvis song!! It was LaBamba!! He had brought his guitar and played the song. He was very good! He talked to Dwight and I several times about the Texas Rangers. I guess he is a baseball fan because he knew a lot about the team. Dwight had on an older Texas Rangers shirt and Elvis loved it. We got back to the ship and Dwight changed shirts and took that one back to him!! He was so tickled!! The people were very friendly and it is a beautiful place. The vendors were not near as pushy as they had been in Colombia. When you told them no they walked away. I found it to be a place where people were proud of their country. I would not hesitate to come back to visit this beautiful country.
So cute!!  Have a hard time with pictures from a moving bus!

So cute!! Have a hard time with pictures from a moving bus!

Square

Square

On the square

On the square

La Asuncion Catherdral

La Asuncion Catherdral

Black Christ

Black Christ

Main altar

Main altar

Burial site (can't remember who--but someone important)

Burial site (can't remember who--but someone important)

Confessional

Confessional

Bells

Bells

Bell

Bell

Going from 1st level up to top level.  Bill and Ulla in the background.

Going from 1st level up to top level. Bill and Ulla in the background.

Church and volcanoes

Church and volcanoes

The streets of Leon

The streets of Leon

Church on left is a private girl's school

Church on left is a private girl's school

The square

The square

Passageways we went through going up and down to the roof of the cathedral

Passageways we went through going up and down to the roof of the cathedral

Vendors on the square

Vendors on the square

The volcano in the background is where the heat for these pots is coming from.

The volcano in the background is where the heat for these pots is coming from.

Mud Pot

Mud Pot

Mud pot

Mud pot

Mud pot that was formed last week!

Mud pot that was formed last week!

The street you walk out to leaving the port.

The street you walk out to leaving the port.

Ferris wheel--seen from the balcony of the ship

Ferris wheel--seen from the balcony of the ship

You can see no vegetation aroiund the top of this volcano since it last erupted.

You can see no vegetation aroiund the top of this volcano since it last erupted.

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Posted by tammyk 09:43

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